Panama, 13 September 2021 (OPS)- The Caribbean Node of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Virtual Campus for Public Health launched two new tutor-based virtual courses on tobacco control.

The first course, "Developing Tobacco Control Legislation in the Caribbean", aims to enhance capacity for the development of tobacco control legislation consistent with the mandates of the World Health Organization Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and the recommendations of its guidelines for implementation, considering Caribbean legislative contexts. The course will run for a total of 11 weeks and is largely based on PAHO’s “Manual for developing Tobacco Control Legislation in the Caribbean” and draws on international case studies, as well as Caribbean experiences and legislative contexts.

 The course has been developed by the PAHO´s Virtual Campus of Public Health, the PAHO Office of the Subregional Program Coordination, PAHO’s Noncommunicable and Mental Health Department, and the Caribbean in collaboration with the Caribbean Court of Justice Academy for Law and with financial support from The Union. Participants include representatives from the Ministries of Health and Legal Affairs of Caribbean countries and territories, as well as representatives of CARICOM Institutions and civil society organizations.

 The second course, "Online Training on Tobacco Cessation for Caribbean Countries”, is designed to strengthen cessation services in primary healthcare (PHC) through the use of online tools and improve participants’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes regarding tobacco cessation. The course is largely based on PAHO’s “Part III and IV (Training for Primary Care Providers and Training for Future Trainers): Building capacity for tobacco control: training package”. It also provides an overview of PAHO/WHO-approved interventions for tobacco cessation, namely tobacco cessation interventions during pregnancy, pharmacological interventions, new products, and the AI Bot Florence.

The course was developed by the Virtual Campus, the PAHO Office of the Subregional Program Coordination, PAHO’s Noncommunicable and Mental Health Department, and will run for a total of 13 weeks.

Both initiatives were designed with the busy Caribbean professional in mind and combine self-directed, peer-to-peer and tutoring-based approaches, as well as didactic, experiential and practice-based methodologies. Learning activities on the various topics of study include programmed literature reviews, case studies, virtual sessions, assignments and quizzes. Upon successful completion of the course and submission of the final assignment, participants will receive a certificate from the PAHO Virtual Campus for Public Health.

The courses include participants from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Trinidad and Tobago, Virgin Islands (British), Turks, and Caicos Islands.